GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 against the same period last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, citing provisional data. Higher rates of the preventable but contagious disease – which can kill a child or leave it blind, deaf or brain-damaged – have been recorded in all regions, the United Nations agency said in a statement, appealing for better vaccination coverage. “Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people,” the WHO statement said. federal health officials said on Monday the number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by nearly 20 percent in the week ended April 11 – the country’s second-worst outbreak in nearly two decades. A growing and vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose measles vaccines in the belief, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders.
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